Over the last week or so, the question of girls’ drawing has come up both in an interesting submission from an author and in a conversation about future publishing ideas.
Of course, there’s an entirely separate conversation to have about whether and why girls’ drawing subjects and styles are different from boys’ drawing subjects and styles. As a publisher, I am not aiming to publish in a way that excludes any reader, and I personally can’t imagine publishing a book called something like “Drawing For Girls” or “Stories For Girls”, though such books often sell well. However, but I am realistic and recognise that books – and drawing, for that matter – exist in the context of other factors, whether genetic or social, that predispose many children towards subjects that conform strongly to stereotypes of what the different sexes are interested in. Most girls really do seem to like fairies and princesses, and most boys really do seem to like dinosaurs and diggers. We can’t change the world, as publishers. We exist in a commercial environment. When we choose to publish a book, we do so with a strong sense of the ultimate likely reader in mind, and, generally, but not always, the attributes of that notional reader include the reader’s sex.
Anyway, several people have already been really helpful, via Twitter, on the question of what girls of 10 and 11 draw and in what style. Here are some of the – very helpful – answers we got:
“She loves drawing people, animals, still life, landscapes. Works in all mediums but her favourite would be soft pastels.”
“My 9 year-old draws her WebKinz plush toys. Right now her WebKinz are also cast as characters from Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver. So drawings are of Husky WebKinz as Wolf.”
“My 12 year-old daughter (turned 12 two weeks ago) draws everything. A main theme is girls her age in various settings. She experiments with all sorts of styles, playing with them. She has her own style arrived from a synthesis of many. She also adds little poems to the drawings. She draws endlessly and writes endlessly.”
“ ‘Other girls, I draw eyes a lot, random animals, stars, lips, faces – friends draw beauty products’. She also draws cartoon-style large-headed characters with small bodies or captioned cartoon pictures. It was really interesting talking to her about it. Some of them are ace! A cow stuck in a bog entitled Silly Cow!!”
“ is by far her favourite thing. Girls, dreams, cats, birds, freaky people, fantasy houses, people turning into animals… Fairly stylised but a distaste for cartoon/Manga style as it’s not unique to her. It helps that her dad draws a lot. I see most other kids by her age decline in drawing appetite & confidence, in comparison.”
“ nieces say they copy cartoons, especially club penguin, and animals.”
“ draws everything: scenes, cartoon characters (SpongeBob, Moshi, Facebook game characters), animals, designs (floor plans/fashion/shapes) us (the family) … she just loves to draw!”
“ a bit older now, but she did draw lots: people she knew including the family, animals, and lots of anime-style pictures of people & ferrets.”
“It’s manga all the way.”
“Mine draws houses & gardens mostly.”
“ 10/11: clothing styles, horses, portraits of others; 6/7: themselves, their families & friends (stick figures), generic ‘landscapes’.”
We’d be really grateful if you could tell us what your younger girls draw, and, even better, send us some samples, or links to samples of your girl’s drawing. You can send samples to [email protected] The images won’t actually appear in a book, and we won’t post the image or name the child without your permission, but the images you send will help to shape a particular book or books that we plan to make.
The image above, Rainbow Bunny by Ella Chia, came via Twitter, and we are very grateful for it.